Dark Passage

1947, Movie, NR, 106 mins

Review

DARK PASSAGE
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An example of how star power can compensate plot, this is the least electric of the Bogart-Bacall pairings; luckily, there's Agnes Moorehead, the screen's best hornet, to intervene whenever the going gets too lackadasical. She's the only female Bogie ever played opposite he looks scared of.

Bogie escapes from San Quentin, where he has been imprisoned for murdering his wife, and is picked up by Bacall who has long been obsessed with his case. Convinced that he is innocent, Bacall hides him in her San Francisco apartment. On a tip from a friendly cabbie, Vincent visits an underworld plastic surgeon who gives the fugitive a new face--thereby enabling him to dodge the authorities and find his wife's real murderer.

Coming just one year after LADY IN THE LAKE, this mystery likewise employs a subjective camera technique in which the viewer sees the action through Vincent's "eyes." The chief difference, however, is the ability here to integrate the technique into the film's plastic surgery plot twist. The audience does not see Vincent's (Bogart's) face until after the bandages are removed (more than an hour into the film) and, since we haven't seen his face until that point, the switch isn't very interesting. And since the narration up until then has been by Bogie, it's impossible not to imagine you've seen him all through the film. No one else ever inflected like that. At the time of this movie, Bogart was Hollywood's highest paid actor, making more than $450,000 a year. leave a comment

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